Many boomers are nearing the age of retirement and starting to think about where they want to live out their year. While aging Canadians have historically decided to downsize their lives and move into smaller apartment-style homes, current trends are starting to tell a different story. More and more older people are deciding instead to age in place in order to save money, hold onto their memories, share their home with their grandkids and to maintain their freedom and quality of life. However, this often comes with some necessary renovations, which is a choice that many boomers are happy to make.
Top renovations to make a home an aging-friendly space
There are many things that can be renovated in a home to make it a space that is more friendly to those choosing to age in place. Most changes can be done gradually rather than all at once, allowing the renovations to occur as the budget allows for it. However, many boomers are opting to make the chosen renovations all at once so that they can benefit from the upgrades sooner and for longer.
1. Simple accessibility upgrades
There are many simple upgrades that can be done to help aging homeowners feel safer and more comfortable in their homes as they age in place. Raising electrical outlets and lowering light switches can make them more accessible while installing grab bars along long hallways can offer some comfort as physical abilities start to decline. Even small changes like changing out toggle light switches to easier to press rocker switches can make a difference for owners who want to stay in their home longer. As time moves on, they may also benefit from widening doorways and hallways and installing ramps or a stair lift.
2. Kitchen improvements
Adapting the kitchen to incorporate multi-height countertops is a great way to allow adults with varying abilities to use the space. At some point aging boomers may find that they need to sit down while working in the kitchen, so lower countertops may become a priority. Adjustable lighting can help accommodate changes in eyesight and lever-style faucet handles can be easier for arthritic hands to maneuver.
3. Upgrades to the bathroom
Walk-in showers, non-slip tiles, grab bars in the tub and improved lighting are prime ways to improve the bathroom for boomers looking to live out their aging years in their own home. The bathroom is often one of the most dangerous spaces as people age, so it’s worthwhile to put the effort in here.
4. Add technology
One positive result of the age of technology is the ability to incorporate it into an aging person’s home in order to help them enjoy their day to day lives and to feel safe living on their own. Voice activated systems can assist with turning on and off lights, setting timers, calling for help in the event of an emergency, maintaining their heating and cooling system and keeping in contact with loved ones.
5. Updating the exterior
Although doing renovations to the exterior of the home might not have an effect on the accessibility and ease of living for those living there, they may still be worth looking into. Replacing or repairing siding can not only improve curb appeal, but it can also ensure that the home is fully sealed to the elements, leading to a savings in their heating bill. The same is often true for roof repairs or replacement.
Renovations can make aging in place comfortable
Whether homeowners are looking to make some serious functional adjustments or they just want to update their siding and exterior paint colour to create a home they are proud to age in, renovations will make remaining in their family home a comfortable experience.